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ASTM | Standards Address Forever Chemicals (PFAS)

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“Forever chemicals.” That’s what PFAS are called. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, stay together; they have strong bonds. 

Paul Sonnenfeld is the chair of the environmental risk management subcommittee (E50.05) and has been an ASTM member since 1993. He summarizes it: “The PFAS carbon-fluorine chemical bond is extremely difficult to break, which is why they’re called forever chemicals.”

Since their introduction around 1950, PFAS have been used in familiar consumer goods such as non-stick cooking pans and stain-resistant clothing, and they have also been a common component of firefighting foams. Today, PFAS include more than 4,000 synthetic chemical compounds (with some sources citing a muchlarger number).



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